I may never know how it feels to fly in a rocket or to hover above the Earth from miles above. I will not know the gift of flight like a hawk, nor behold from such a height the painted squares that divide playgrounds.

But after school today, I did at least walk up a hill with three amazing young people. We walked along a dirt trail toward Hawk’s Rock – the highest point above the school. Evangeline, Myra, and Grace went ahead of me since they knew the way quite well. The Rock sat half way between the school and their houses on the other side of the hill. When I went there, it was to watch hawks fly, see cars zip and feel the touch of winds from the east or the west.

When I caught up with the girls, they faced south looking all the way to where the curving planet disappeared at the horizon. Today’s view had special clarity. They didn’t say they minded letting me stand along side and share this vista with them.

From my toes to the crown of my head, I felt that the planet had a few things to tell us. We all scanned the horizon for a minute. Then, Evangeline, curly hair parted and tied in two wings, lifted her chin to make a short declaration. “Earth is a big, flying rock.” Her two friends giggled but added no further comments. So I asked a follow up question.

“Really? How does that feel? To stand on a flying rock?”

She explained how the rock flies through space, how other planets fly as well, and how very tiny she felt standing on here on this day. When she finished, she paused and then signaled her friends to come along. They said “bye” and homeward they went. I stayed on to take in the all-in-all on this cloudless day.

I got to considering my predicament as a human being, destined to live out my days on a flying rock. How often I wished to be some type of animal other than a human – to fly, to shape-shift, to travel through time. Maybe humans are unique in yearning to be other than they are. And still, for all the wishing, we remain thin skinned, mid-sized animals. Only the very few will ever move beyond our planet’s gravitational pull.

I know a 10,000 foot view offers plenty. Seeing what a cloud sees as it floats over our scrambling could save us from countless missteps. However, if you get too hooked on the sky, you forget about all that comes from having two feet nestled in the rich soft dirt. Everything grows from the ground up – at least everything that matters to me.

My school and my life – the lives of every child that flies along side me on this rock – change in each moment. Evangeline called it out as she stood here and I got it as she and her friends left.  I can’t fly, but I have – we have – learned ways to make a go at what we’ve been given.

Leave the big picture to clouds. Give it to me hand to hand, moment to moment.  Intuition, receptivity, and flow. These come to us at the ground level. May we invite the contact. May we feel it in the gut.  Let all the airborne mysteries float above. Call them ineffable and let your feet find the way, here, among the rocks, the grit and the grass.

Right here on earth.


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10 Responses to Earth

  1. Suki October 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm #


    Your words are beautiful, poignant and down to earth all wrapped up in a spiritual flight. Thank you. I do need to say that while I believe my cats are fully exactlyt what they are and who they are, contentedly and happily, when they see a bird fly by and start their staccato chirping calls, the sound speaks of more then just an anticipated meal. The sound itself is so eerily and movingly primal that I am awed every time I hear it. I think they are calling the birds down from heaven.

    • Greg April 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Now look who’s using the beautiful words!

  2. Albert February 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    This is an exquisite essay. You are such a good writer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and others. The last paragraph is my favorite. My ego is so healthy that I identify with it, as I’ve become less afraid to get into the mud … to find the lotus, of course! 🙂 I find it inspirational, as well.

    P.S. I’m married to a Taurus. As a Gemini, I’ve always told D that he provides the tether for my kite so I can become more grounded to the Earth and don’t fly too far away in those “air-borne dreams” of mine, he-he.

  3. Kay February 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    I love reading your reflections. Very astute. You hit the nail on the head with such verbal precision.

    Thank you.

  4. Collin February 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Beautiful, Greg. You’re really hitting your stride as a writer. Lovely to hear your steady voice on the page. And that voice, reaching out as it does beyond the playground allows itself to be heard above the din of all the theoreticians, who are flailing away to rescue something they don’t really understand. One clear voice on the ground is worth a thousand consultants. That’s what I’d call leadership.

    Love to you,

    • Greg April 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      So true, Collin, that these posts just begin on the playground. The real work starts well beyond that!

  5. David February 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    I sent your “Earth” email to my CEO. We both were very moved by your story. You are a very talented writer!

  6. Michelle April 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Yea Greg!! Love it ; ) Here’s to the village travelers not afraid to get their hands a little muddy in on-the-ground work in our schools.

  7. Sandra June 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    This is my favorite of all the pieces I’ve read so far! It speaks to me about why I found working in the “trenches” of non-profit community-based organizations more appealing than the “high theory” I’d be contributing to if I stayed on the University Professor path I was groomed for. But there are more complexities and nuances of meaning in this piece even still so I’ll be reading it over again and maybe again.

    Our plans for the corner where the poetry post would go are slowly coming together ….

  8. Kirk June 25, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Greg,Good stuff brother. Your courage inspires me. Hugs & blessings,Kirk

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